Mental Health Checkups for Adolescents

For Adolescents, or members that are between the ages of 11 to 18, emotional or mental health can affect how prepared they will be for school, their ability to connect with friends and family, and their ability to bounce back when faced with life's setbacks. Supporting an adolescent’s emotional development and well-being is just as important as their physical health. Sometimes it is hard to know if an adolescent’s emotional development is on track.

EmblemHealth engages practitioners with a wide range of services, supports and information to help our practitioners determine their member’s emotional health needs.

The Mental Health Checkup

Primary care practitioners (PCPs) are responsible for conducting applicable behavioral health screenings. We ask our PCPs to have our adolescent members complete a Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents while they are in the waiting or exam room. The questionnaire can help evaluate if an adolescent is suffering from depression, anxiety or other condition. When a mental illness is identified early, the adolescent has the best chance to lead a healthy life and reach their full potential.

Why Primary Care Practitioners

PCPs are in a unique position to help detect mental health conditions. According to the US Surgeon General, 21 percent of our nation's youth suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder that causes impairment, but 80 percent are not identified and do not receive help. Further, about two million teenagers are affected by depression; however, most of them go undiagnosed and untreated.

EmblemHealth looks to its PCPs to be on guard for potential behavioral health diagnosis. Mental health screening is an effective way to identify an at-risk adolescent and its recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force the Institute of Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and National Association of pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

PCPs may consult with Beacon Health Options, who manages the Behavioral Health benefit, regarding appropriate medication management. PCPs may also refer higher risk adolescents to a behavioral health practitioner. The New York State Office of Mental Health regulations define appropriate access to services and quality of care for children and adolescents treated in Clinics licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health. For more information on these and other guidelines, please visit the New York State Office of Mental Health website: https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/clinic_restructuring/appendix2.html.